As we mentioned last week, a new report by the transportation policy watchdog group the Tri-State Transportation Campaign identifies New Jersey’s most dangerous roads for pedestrians. While Mercer County fared better than many counties, and no Mercer County roads made the Top 10 list of most dangerous roadways for walking, the fact remains that 15 pedestrians were killed on Mercer County streets between 2007 and 2009. Tri‐State Transportation Campaign’s analysis of federal traffic fatality data reveal that Routes 129 suffered the highest number of pedestrian deaths over this period.
According to The Trenton Times, the most recent pedestrian death on Route 129 occurred in January 2009, when 3-year-old I’Maya Moreland died after a fire truck collided with a pickup truck, which hit the child and two other pedestrians. Moreland’s family sued Trenton, Mercer County and the Sovereign Bank Arena earlier this month, charging they failed to provide safe access to the arena.
A map created by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign showed about half of the Mercer County accidents happened Trenton. Two fatalities occurred along Route 206 near the Brunswick Circle in Lawrence, and two on Interstate 95 just east of the Scudder Falls Bridge. The data also showed that seven of the county victims were over 55 years old.
Mercer County is undertaking numerous pedestrian safety improvement projects. The Times article notes:
Mercer was awarded more than $3 million in federal stimulus money over the past two years for pedestrian safety and other road projects, including $425,000 for signal and push-button improvements, $360,000 for crosswalks that comply with Americans with Disability Act requirements and $300,000 for traffic signal improvements on Olden Avenue in Ewing, according to federal data.
A number of projects have been completed or are under way, Watson said. They include road modifications, signalization and push buttons at the intersection of Princeton Avenue, Calhoun Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Trenton and similar work at Hamilton Avenue and Chestnut Street in Trenton and at the intersection of Whitehead Road, East State Street and Roberts Avenue in Hamilton.
The county is installing flashing beacons at points where the Lawrence Hopewell Trail for bicycles and pedestrians crosses public roads, and on Princeton Avenue near the Project Freedom complex in Lawrence, to encourage motorists to stop for pedestrians. Watson said the county also collaborated with Hamilton last year to install a crosswalk and pedestrian island on Hughes Drive and Paxson Avenue, near the entrance to Mercer County Park.